#EngVocab: Singlish vocabularies

Following up on a previous post about Singlish or Singaporean English, this time we will talk about some Singlish words and expressions. Anyone up for it?

As a reminder, here’s what Singlish is to a fella:

“it’s English mix with some Chinese and Malay words :)) and the grammar doesnt have to be correct” – @laurenhxh

Believe it or not, my interviewees were struggling on how to actually write these Singlish. Of course, different people might write it differently. So, if you happen to know how to write them, share your version.

So, here they are!

  1. Wah Lau Eh/Weh. Meaning: “Oh my God,” an expression when you are surprised. In Indonesian it would be like “ya ampun.”
  2. Boh Liao. Meaning: nothing better to do, feeling bored.
  3. Cheem/Cham. Meaning: difficult, complicated, complex. This expression is usually used by students when they find their studies hard to understand.
  4. Ah/Leh/Meh/Lah. Meaning: expressive words in Singlish.
  5. Relak one corner. Meaning: go sit at one corner to do your own thing, nothing better to do, anti-social. As an example, telling someone to just go relax and maybe play guitar on the corner.
  6. Wan. Meaning: referring to an object/person. It is used at the end of a sentence.
    • Example:
      • “Zhen Min is very smart wan, lah!” (notice: an expressive word from no.4 is used in the end as well)
  1. Makan. Meaning: eating. It has the same meaning in Indonesian, but in Singapore and Singlish it is used by any race there to say “eat”
  2. Jalan-jalan. Meaning: walking around, traveling. It has the same meaning in Bahasa Indonesia
  3. Got? or Got meh? Meaning: “is it true?” or “is it?” In Indonesian would be “iya gitu?” or “ada gitu?
  4. Auntie or Uncle. Meaning: it is usually used to refer to shop owners or food stall owners.
    • Example:
      • “Auntie, what’s the price for….?”
      • “Uncle, what do you have in store?” and so on

Here is an additional expression from a Fella”

Bo jio. Meaning: ajak ajak dong. Why you didn’t invite me?” @jiank38

Remember, that these are Singlish (Singapore/Singaporean English). So, don’t mix it up with English. Of course, this session wouldn’t be possible without @della_angelina, Zhen Min and Mithun’s common Singlish vocabs contribution, in London, 14th July 2014.

Compiled and written by @daedonghae at @EnglishTips4u on August 27, 2014


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